The Cluster of Excellence Balance of the Microverse invites applications for

9 Doctoral and 7 Postdoctoral Researcher Positions

1 Scientific Coordinator

The Cluster of Excellence Balance of the Microverse of the Friedrich Schiller University Jena, Germany, combines expertise in life, material, optical and computational sciences to elevate microbiome studies from descriptive to hypothesis-driven and functional analyses. Our core mission is to elucidate fundamental principles of the interactions and functions in microbial communities in diverse habitats ranging from oceans and ground water to plant and human hosts. We aim to identify the shared characteristics of disturbed or polluted ecosystems as well as infectious diseases on the microbiome level, and develop strategies for their remediation by targeted interventions. Our full spectrum of expertise in the physical and life sciences will be leveraged to address these important issues in natural habitats as well as synthetic arenas in a collaborative manner. The affiliated early career program of the Jena School for Microbial Communication (JSMC) offers an ambitious, structured and interdisciplinary graduate training based on top-level fundamental research. We are now recruiting engaging and motivated individuals to join our Microverse Cluster. Important for all candidates will be the willingness to collaborate widely and to look beyond traditional disciplines to further our mission.

Scientific Coordinator
We are looking for a scientist with research experience in the field of the cluster and a strong intrest in the development of research strategies, science policy and networking.

Application deadline: 25th March 2019

Doctoral and postdoctoral researcher positions are available in the following projects:

Microverse PhD 01/2019
We are looking for a doctoral researcher to investigate how commensal bacteria help keep opportunistic fungal infections under control.

Microverse PostDoc 02/2019
We are looking for a post-doctoral researcher with experience in hybrid materials such as polymer-protein conjugates to help design membranes that emulate the gut and liver by incorporating extracellular matrix proteins and reporter molecules.

Microverse PostDoc 03/2019
We are looking for a post-doctoral researcher to investigate the exometabolome and chemical phycosphere of plankton by the use of Mass spectrometry and imaging technologies.

Microverse PostDoc 04/2019
We are looking for a post-doctoral researcher to investigate how the intestinal microbiota affect systemic immune responses to fungal infections in a mouse model system.

Microverse PostDoc 05/2019
We are looking for a post-doctoral researcher to investigate stress and metabolic adaptations in C. elegans microbiome responses to antibiotic treatment as a model system for critically ill patients.

Microverse PhD 06/2019
We are looking for a doctoral researcher with experience in image processing and mathematical modeling to develop algorithms for the automated analysis of microscopy images of microbiomes in a gut-on-a-chip model.

Microverse PhD 07/2019
We are looking for a doctoral researcher to investigate the functional dependencies of microorganisms within a human microbiome on the host’s epithelial and immune cells in the context of fungal infections.

Microverse PhD 08/2019
We are looking for a doctoral researcher to investigate the dynamics of the lung microbiome in influencing host defense mechanisms and pathogenicity of microorganisms.

Microverse PhD 09/2018
We are looking for a doctoral researcher to investigate how the recruitment and development of leaf microbiomes affect disease susceptibility in field and laboratory studies.

Microverse PhD 10/2019
We are looking for a doctoral researcher to investigate responses to microbial infections in the highly stress-resistant naked mole rat.

Microverse PostDoc 11/2019
We are looking for a post-doctoral researcher who will exploit a microfluidics platform for the culturing of microbes from different characteristic habitats for the discovery of highly specific co-cultures and new natural products.

Microverse PhD 12/2019
We are looking for a doctoral researcher to develop algorithms that recognize morphological and/or texture features in microscopy images to reduce the necessity for staining procedures and assess microbial dynamics in virtual models that will be tested against empirical data.

Microverse PhD 13/2019
We are looking for a doctoral researcher to identify chemical mediators that are key regulators of microbiome function and responses to pathogens.

Microverse PostDoc 14/2019
We are looking for a post-doctoral researcher to identify markers of disease outcome as well as the potential for microbiome interventions for treatment in a prospective metagenomic and metabolomic observational study of ICU patients.

Microverse PhD 15/2019
We are looking for a doctoral researcher to combine metabolomic and transcriptomic data from multi-partner microbial consortia to predict a virtual metabolome through the mapping of enzymatic potential identified from the transcriptomic data and comparison with empirical metabolomes.

Microverse PostDoc 16/2019
We are looking for a post-doctoral researcher with experience in data management and integration as well as a strong background in software engineering to help integrate the analysis of large data sets from a variety of biological settings.

Application deadline: 20th March 2019

Applications for these positions are exclusively accepted via the JSMC Online Application Portal: https://apply.jsmc.uni-jena.de/

For more information see Jena School for Microbial Communication (JSMC)

Further job openings:


At the heart of the Microverse Cluster are our early career researchers who participate in a research-oriented, interdisciplinary training program that unites the expertise from the Friedrich Schiller University and the participating research institutes.

We foster international exchange and collaborations, and promote gender equality and the compatibility of family and career.

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Early Career

Jena has become a highly attractive research and training environment centered around microbial communication and optics/photonics. The Friedrich Schiller University offers 13 Master degree programs tailored to the research topic of the Microverse Cluster.

The Jena School for Microbial Communication forms the cornerstone for doctoral training in the Microverse Cluster. In optics and photonics, a second research area of high relevance to Microverse topics, the Abbe School of Photonics offers a well-established Master and doctoral program. The Microverse Early Career Program coordinates interdisciplinary doctoral training programs, mentoring offers and support measures for doctoral and postdoctoral researchers.

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Graduate Schools

Jena School for Microbial Communication

The JSMC offers a structured, interdisciplinary doctoral training program centered on deciphering the chemical language of microorganisms. The doctoral projects are situated at the interfaces of biology, chemistry, medicine, geology, opto-physics and bioinformatics. The JSMC network includes institutes and clinics at the Friedrich Schiller University Jena as well as non-university research institutions and biotech companies.



Abbe School of Photonics

The Abbe School of Photonics provides and coordinates Masters degree and doctoral programs in optical and photonics technologies. The School's interdisciplinary education programs are embedded in the Abbe Center of Photonics of the Friedrich Schiller University Jena, with strong bonds to local research institutions and industry partners.


Graduate Academy

Graduate Academy

The Graduate Academy supports young graduates and postdocs at Friedrich Schiller University Jena in cooperation with the faculties, graduate schools and research training groups. It offers consulting services, training opportunities and networking events for doctoral and postdoctoral researchers in Jena.


Competitive Recruitment

Competitive Recruitment

In a multi-step recruitment process, selected applicants are invited to a recruitment meeting in Jena that includes candidate lectures, personal interviews, visits to institutes and a get-together with current doctoral researchers.

Transdisciplinary Training

Transdisciplinary Training

Our cross-disciplinary, research-oriented training program allows doctoral candidates to select from a broad range of course topics, interdisciplinary workshops and summer schools offered by our graduate schools.

Interdisciplinary Supervision

Interdisciplinary Supervision

Doctoral researchers are supervised by three faculty members from different scientific disciplines to promote cross-disciplinary training. A supervisory committee monitors and advises on the research progress and career development.

Networking Opportunities

Networking Opportunities

Annual international scientific meetings and joint academia and industry events facilitate research collaborations. The International Scientist Exchange Program provides external networking opportunities.

Career Support

Career Support

Efforts to prepare our graduates for different career paths include cross-disciplinary mentoring, an ‘alternative careers in science’ seminar series and alumni meetings.

Support of Postdoctoral Researchers

Postdoctoral Researchers

Postdoctoral researchers are included in our mentoring program, career orientation and training offers and networking activities. We strive to promote early scientific independence.

Alleviate Work-related Pressures

Alleviate Work-related Pressures

We are committed to take a more proactive approach to tackling mental health problems. Counselling offers alleviate stress and anxiety and foster a healthy work-life balance.


The Microverse Cluster seeks to attract excellent minds from all over the world and fosters international collaborations by creating a creative and inspirational working environment. Our planned International Scientists Exchange Program will coordinate research stays of visiting professors to Jena and short-term fellowships for Jena’s early career researchers to perform part of their research in laboratories abroad or in industry.

Equal Opportunity

The Microverse Cluster strives to provide the best possible working conditions for all its members – regardless of nationality, gender, age or health. The equal opportunity officer is happy to provide advisory support on this topic to all staff members. The Microverse Cluster will specifically promote the career development of female researchers, to achieve gender balance even in senior academic positions.

Family and Career

We understand the reconciliation of family life and a scientific career as the crucial basis for successful research work. The Friedrich Schiller University Jena and the participating non-university research institutions are members of the ‘Jena Alliance for Families’, which promotes a family-friendly infrastructure and culture.